Four gay couples will enter civil
unions in Hawaii as they welcome the new year, the AP reported.
The couples are expected to be the
first in the state to take advantage of a civil unions law which
takes effect on January 1.
Governor Neil Abercrombie signed in
February the legislation that gives gay and straight couples nearly
all of the legal protections of marriage.
The celebration, which will take place
at an East Oahu home, is being organized by a coalition of groups
including Citizens for Equal Rights and Honolulu Pride.
“We love each other,” said Gary
Bradley, referring to his partner Paul Perry. “This is just one
step closer to full marriage equality.”
“It gives us protection if something
were to happen to me, if something were to happen to him,” he
couple sue for right to marry in Hawaii.)
The wait for gay couples to have their
relationships recognized in Hawaii has been long and protracted. Gay
marriage advocates won a landmark 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court case that
struck down the state's law limiting marriage to heterosexual
couples. However, in 1998 voters approved a constitutional amendment
giving lawmakers “the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex
A similar civil unions law also takes
effect on January 1 in Delaware.